Intelligence led reports suggested that a large-scale co-ordinated robbery would be focused specifically on JD Sports Croydon. Promoted initially through the social media platform Snapchat, participants were invited to join the raid, with a request that youths dress in balaclavas and hoods, in what is becoming known as ‘urban stealing’. Similar targeted campaigns such as this have taken place in Tottenham and Peckham, stealing thousands of pounds worth of clothing and shoes.
In addition to Croydon BID’s two funded officers, the Metropolitan Police put together a large-scale operation to ensure the safety and security of JD Sports, North End. As a result, the Metropolitan Police placed 40-50 officers, police vans and police on horseback within the town centre to deter any such co-ordinated robbery from taking place.
The Metropolitan Police stopped and searched 106 people and there were nine arrests in total. There was a moment of large-scale disorder at West Croydon Bus garage where approximately 40 youths began a confrontation with the police. From what the Metropolitan Police could ascertain, these youths were in Croydon in order to take part in the planned thefts at JD Sports.
Croydon BID’s Business Crime and Safety Manager, Rebecca Molloy, was able to brief key businesses and inform them of the details of the operation, to optimise the preparations.
“By visiting key businesses, encouraging membership of the CBCP and the use of the Croydon BID Radio Link, and working with the Met Police, we were able to minimise, or even eradicate, the negative outcomes of threats such as this one.”
Furthermore, Superintendent Colin Carswell added:
“I have no doubt that had we not had the operation in place as we did, there is every likelihood that JD Sports would have been targeted.”
Croydon BID and the Metropolitan Police continue to work closely together to increase safety in the town centre, delivering visible overtime four days per week and focused operational activities to provide effective problem solving.